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Bere Alston War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Bere Ferrers, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4805 / 50°28'49"N

Longitude: -4.191 / 4°11'27"W

OS Eastings: 244645

OS Northings: 66811

OS Grid: SX446668

Mapcode National: GBR NT.M3BD

Mapcode Global: FRA 273S.H2N

Entry Name: Bere Alston War Memorial

Listing Date: 20 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1443320

Location: Bere Ferrers, West Devon, Devon, PL20

County: Devon

District: West Devon

Civil Parish: Bere Ferrers

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

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Summary

First World War memorial, unveiled 1921, with later additions.

Description

The memorial stands outside Bere Alston Parish Hall (unlisted). It takes the form of a tall granite wheel-head cross. The cross shaft rises from a tapering plinth, square on plan, which stands on a three-stepped base and circular platform. The middle step supports a low metal railing that is designed to retain wreaths and floral tributes.

The principal dedicatory inscription to the front face of the plinth reads IN/ PROUD AND GRATEFUL/ MEMORY OF THE GALLANT/ MEN OF THIS PARISH WHO/ MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-1918./ (9 NAMES). The other names are recorded on the plinth sides. To the rear of the plinth, the dedication to the New Zealand soldiers reads IN MEMORY OF THE/ NEW ZEALAND SOLDIERS/ WHO WERE KILLED IN/ A TRAGIC ACCIDENT/ AT BERE FERRERS STATION/ ON SEPTEMBER 24TH 1917./ (10 NAMES).

To the front of the memorial a tablet, in the shape of a scrolled roll of honour, is inclined on the lowest steps of the base. Its inscription reads (21 NAMES)/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE WORLD WAR 1939-1945/ IN THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM./ “GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN.” All the inscriptions are in applied metal letters.


This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 2 March 2017.

History

The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Bere Alston as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. The memorial was unveiled on 2 July 1921 by Sir Alfred Croft on the same day as the other memorial cross in the parish, at Bere Ferrers, was also unveiled. It commemorates 42 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of 21 men who died in that conflict were added.

In 2001 the names of ten New Zealand soldiers who died in a railway accident at Bere Ferrers railway station were added to the memorial. On 24 September 1917 the contingent had been en route to Salisbury Plain for training, having arrived in Britain at Plymouth dock. Their long troop train made an unscheduled stop at Bere Ferrers to let an express train pass. Mistaking the stop for Exeter, where they had been instructed to collect food, the soldiers left the train and started to walk up the track towards the station buildings. Nine soldiers were killed by the London Waterloo to Plymouth express train, and one died of his injuries in hospital. They were buried in Efford Cemetery, Plymouth.

Reasons for Listing

Bere Alston War Memorial, which stands outside Bere Alston Parish Hall, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20, and the sacrifice of Commonwealth troops in the First World War;
* Architectural interest: a simple yet poignant granite memorial cross in the Celtic style.

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